Ford engineers have designed a sliding center console that could be used by both passengers and any pets they may have on board.

Cupholders are a common feature in center consoles, but this version also incorporates a holder for a pet's water bowl. And it would be able to slide fore and aft to position drinks closer to specific seats, according to a Ford patent application originally filed in 2021 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and only published on March 19.

A monitoring system would keep track of which seats are occupied, and where pets are in the vehicle. A controller would then reposition the console as needed.

Pets could also wear radio-emitting devices to allow the system to keep track of them as they roam about the cabin, Ford suggests. The integrated pet bowl would also include a capacitive sensor to determine the amount of liquid in the bowl, perhaps to keep the controller from moving the console too abruptly and spilling it.

Ford sliding center console patent image

Ford sliding center console patent image

This is just one of several recent Ford patent filings for reconfigurable interior fittings.

Another recently published patent application describes center consoles with deployable tables, while another discusses reconfigurable seating that allows seats to be forward or backward facing without physically flipping them around.

If it reaches production, this pet-friendly center console could also be used in combination with the integrated loading ramp Ford has also tried to patent. In that recently surfaced patent application, Ford discusses using a deployable ramp not only for loading and unloading cargo, but for making it easier for pets to get into the back of an SUV.